A New Year’s Resolution for Recovery
It’s about to be a New Year, so how about a new you? It sounds too simple, and indeed it is! For many, addiction recovery and the New Year can be a difficult combination. Even if you’ve already decided to pursue recovery from addiction, you may feel the pressure to make resolutions that could be too ambitious and lead to stress.
And, of course, there’s the matter of all the details! How many new goals should you set? How can you be sure you make real steps of progress? How can you manage the added stress that resolutions can cause? For many people, putting that much pressure on yourself may actually stimulate cravings and make recovery more all the more difficult.
How Can I Make My New Year’s Resolution Successful?
The first key to starting the New Year right is to take a pause. New Year’s resolutions for those in addiction recovery should not make recovery harder but rather easier. If you can manage to take small steps and create resolutions that help instead of hinder, you’ll be able to continue on your recovery process.
According to one study of New Year resolutions, researchers observed three components that predicted positive outcomes for resolvers. These three factors were:
- Skills to change
- Readiness to change
So before choosing your resolutions this year, consider if you meet these three requirements. Do you have strength to make the change? Do you have the skills to change? And are you really ready to make the change happen?
Strategies for Identifying Your Resolution
Before you can start embarking on achieving your resolution, you need to have a clear idea of what exactly you want to accomplish. Your resolution might be large or small. Either way, it helps to break it down into manageable goals, which will make the process much easier for you.
In addition to identifying a clear goal, it’s important to consider how you’ll continue to stay motivated throughout the year. The initial readiness to change is certainly essential, but maintaining motivation is just as important. One study demonstrates how even substance abuse recovery clients who are admitted to treatment involuntarily developed motivation to continue within their treatment program. And in fact, their motivation levels were the same as those who admitted themselves voluntarily to treatment. In other words, motivation throughout the process can be more important than your initial readiness.
What if My Resolution Is to Start the Recovery Process?
Regardless of the kind of substance use disorder you’re struggling with, a resolution to get clean is admirable. Maybe you had a relapse this year and haven’t found your way out of it yet. Or maybe this would be your first treatment program. Either way, New Year’s is a great place to begin.
Tip #1: Begin a treatment plan. A recovery program is a great starting place. Addiction recovery programs have a variety of resources to help you address your addiction and get back on the path to healing.
Tip #2: Join a support group. Support groups can help you build the network that will assist you on your journey to recovery. You can seek a group that uses the 12-step model, or you can search for a different kind of group that appeals to you. Everyone’s recovery journey is unique, and everyone can use support.
Tip #3: Seek support from loved ones. Beyond the support you receive from your treatment program and support group, you can turn to the people who love you. Talk to your family and friends. Share your story and your struggle with addiction and ask for their help as you move forward.
Beyond Getting Treatment, How Do I Set “SMART” Goals for the New Year?
If you’re currently sober and want to set other types of goals in line with your recovery plan, try using the “SMART” goal format. Setting SMART goals is a common approach with a helpful acronym that describes the qualities of good-goal-setting. Goals should be:
First, any goal or resolution you set will be easier to achieve if it is specific rather than vague. Even if it’s small, stay specific! Second, make your goal measurable so that you track and celebrate your progress. Third, don’t set too high of standards that are unachievable. Fourth, choose a goal that will positively impact your life and be relevant to other goals you have. Finally, give yourself a specific time frame in which you want to achieve your goal.
How Can I Maintain a Healthy Mindset During My Resolutions?
Now that you’ve set a SMART goal, the rest of the work is about your mindset. In order to stick to your resolutions and meet your goals, you’ll have to maintain a healthy mindset which takes time and dedication.
The easiest way to maintain this healthy mindset is by staying positive. Keeping a New Year’s resolution does not happen overnight! You might experience small setbacks on your journey, but it’s key to remain positive. Keeping on the path, encouraging yourself, and keeping negative thoughts at bay will help you stick to your goals in the tough moments.
Another easy hack to a healthy mindset is by keeping your support network close. Look to the people in your life who want to help you and don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand! When you surround yourself with a strong network of people, they can help keep you accountable to your goals.
Keeping a routine will also assist you in a healthy mindset. Along with healthy habits like eating nutritionally and exercising consistently, the routine itself will help stabilize your mind. Even if your routine is as simple as going for a walk every morning, make sure to repeat it every day. Over time, you can add more elements to a daily routine. Keep track of the elements of your schedule and reward yourself for keeping up with it.
To start or continue your recovery journey in the New Year, reach out to a professional at Impact Recovery today and get the help you need.